Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chopping, Thinking, Cooking


I wrote this post a few weeks ago, then forgot about it. It's about how my mind drifted as I spent a whole day cooking.


Saturday, I pick carrots, beets, and green onions. Night temperatures are often in the 20s now, but the ground here doesn't freeze this early. My back gets tired, so I pick about half the carrots and onions.


And all the beets. What to do with the beets, I have no idea, but I have the Joy of Cooking, so I feel safe. 


I notice baby spinach is still coming up, so I pick a lot Sunday morning with a few baby beet leaves. Looking around, I see that the collards still look good. I know if I pick them, I must cook them. My husband is in the Los Angeles burbs helping a friend, so, yes, if I pick them I must cook them and what do I know about southern cooking. You would think I would have learned some by now, but not really. Not wanting them to go to waste, I pick. Ouch, my back gets very tired, but I pick.



I pick, I clean, I rinse, I prep the other ingredients, fill the big pot with water, put it on the stove and start chopping. Boring, so I think. I think about my husband and how blessed I am that he loves to cook; I wonder what he thinks about when he chops, when he stands here cooking every day; how the gumbo he cooks for us and our friends for Christmas takes forever; how meticulous he is, how patient. Soon the first colander is done and I bring up the second from the sink.


Ouch, lots of greens in this one. My back hurts, this is taking forever. I think about the women, generations of them in the American South, who have stood as I stand now, chopping greens for their families. I see them, as I chop, in their kerchiefs and aprons, chopping collards, mustard, and other greens. We don't have greens in Sweden, but I think of one of their relatives, the cabbage. I see my mother making this Swedish dish called kaldolmar, I will not go into what that is, but I remember it as not being very good. My mom didn't like to cook either. 


Then I think of how my mom had to cook, whether she liked it or not, because she had kids and a husband to cook for and that's how it was back then. Then I think that I never had children and how my stepson was only part of my life for a few brief years before he died at 24. Then I get morose again, and think how sad that is. Then I think of Summer, blogger friend Bobbi's granddaughter, Summer of the most interesting face on the blogs, an adorable child. So while not missing the actual children I never had, I now miss not having a grandchild. 


While all this thinking goes on, the pot begins to boil almost at the same time my chopping is done. I take this as a good sign and put the greens in the pot, turn the heat down (hubby's instructions: "you must turn the heat down, you know, like when you cook rice") yes, I do know what simmer is, that I do know. I turn the heat down, set the alarm on my phone, without it these greens may cook all night. So I think about getting/being old and how this little timer on my phone is saving my butt over and over again. And then I still forget to post all this that I just wrote ~~ until now.

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D. G. Hudson: My husband cooks greens with ham hocks and bacon, but he also cooks vegetarian greens and they come out heavenly, as does everything he cooks. Your suggestion to use Creole Seasonings really hit home. That's exactly what was missing. I put in plenty of seasonings, but not the Creole kind. Thanks so much for taking the time in your comment to suggest this. If there's ever a next time.......









26 comments:

  1. You still have lots coming up in your garden! Our mom never had her own kids, just us, but she has grand kids cuz our dad had a son. She identified with your words.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  2. Beautiful Fall Colors on your header -
    Golly, you sure have Bounty in your garden . . .

    I'm impressed you know what to do about it.
    Also, impressive is your honesty . .

    love & love to you!!!

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  3. i am not a lover of cooking, either. :) but, boy, those fresh carrots looked awesome!

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  4. Your veggies looks so beautiful. We didn't plant a garden this year so although I haven't had to do the work, don't have anything to show for it.

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  5. Happy to help, Inger. Hubs and I both cook, but he didn't when we first met. My southern style fish breaded in cornmeal and pan-fried won him over.

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  6. i am just soooo happy i did not live in the days where I had to yank those greens out and wash and wash and cook and cook and then eat and clean and clean... i think of that a lot. my hubby is like yours, when he cooks he takes forever, and that might be why his taste better than mine. i don't like to cook, i never did like it and i never will. i did cook and feed the kids when they were growing up, but only normal every day throw it together stuff, like chili and spagetti and pastas, with a roast now and then... your veggies make beautiful art in the blue container. really pretty photos. hope you did not eat all those greens by yourself. LOL...

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  7. More gumbo this Christmas? YUMMY!!

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  8. Oj vad du jobbar med grönsakerna. Men det är ju härligt att ha egna sådana och kunna skörda dem. Vi hade stort land när jag var liten med allsköns grönsaker, vi kunde skörda upp mot 200 kg morötter, massa olika kålsorter mm mm. Så jag kan det där med grönsaksland, konservera o dyl.
    Kram!

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  9. Oh Inger I also do some of my best thinking and sadly tearing up while chopping it is very soothing chopping. I do not have Grandchildren either but I do have children so I have no idea how you really feel but I can give you HUGS.
    My Hero loved your beet recipe and I froze 6lbs of beets yesterday.
    Thank you and know I am here. HUGS B

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  10. I do like to cook... but I hate to clean or iron. I also hate mending things; you know, sewing on missing buttons and such. The only "domestic" thing I enjoy is cooking. Otherwise, put me outside and leave me there.

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  11. Oh my stars, greens. I have a love/hate relationship with them. They are horrible to clean and prepare. You had a lovely garden, and I'm glad you remembered to share this reflection on food and cooking and loss -- somehow it all blended, didn't it? Autumn seems the time for reflection.

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  12. Your fresh garden items look so good to me. Our first frost is arriving in the morning and our garden is a memory! My grandmother used to pickle her beets and they were divine.

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  13. That's great that you are yielding those veggies with night in the 20's wow ! i'm not a great cook either . I don't like to cook ... or possibly it is just that I don't like to do dishes . ha ha

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  14. I can almost smell the greens cooking...brings back so many memories. Mom put a ham hock and onions and simmered it. The greens seemed to take forever. Then we had vinegar with hot peppers to pour over it.

    So good to hear from you! I have missed you.

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  15. but theres us, your blogger family. And we think of you often enough, you Swedish Goddess of Desert Canyon!

    xoxox

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  16. Beets keep well so you will be able to have beets all winter. I always try to first cure with food and your bounty looks like a medicine cabinet in all it's glory.
    Hope your back is doing well now.

    Beautiful header but the poor tree is losing it's bark as most of the trees throughout are doing. It's a shame.

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  17. oven roasted beets
    nothing more simple or more wonderful

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  18. You were obviously very relaxed and enjoying your cooking.

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  19. This time of year with a garden is my favorite. We'd eat vegetable-based meals twice a day. Three times, if you count vegetable omelets for breakfast!

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  20. Dear Inger, I admire your perseverance in the midst of having a back ache. I've never eaten collard greens even though I live in what is known as a southern state--Missouri. I think that has more to do with it having been a slave state during the Civil War then with its cooking.

    Once again your photographs are sharp and clear. The color is so vivid. Thank you for sharing them; they make me hungry! Peace.

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  21. Your fresh vegetables look so delicious! I love the new header by the way!

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  22. I just love the colors and veggies in you garden! You will figure out what to do with them all.

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  23. I like this fresh vegies of yours...good for the body!

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  24. I'm not mad about cooking either but at least you have a selection there. We've spent weeks and weeks eating nothing but green beans, courgettes and tomatoes. My freezer is filled with them. Next year I'm going to try and get him to sow less of each and more variety!

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  25. Hi Inger .. the photos look fabulous - such fresh veggie ...

    I love cooking ... but as it's only me I don't try too many things now - but eat simply and well ...

    Cheers Hilary

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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